You can find millions of articles on the Internet on how to lose weight. Almost all of them guarantee fast results. However, the majority of them will leave you feeling hungry most of the time or unsatisfied. These two are perhaps the biggest reasons why people find it hard to follow a diet for the long-term and turn it into a lifestyle.
However, there are a few exceptions. For example, low carb diets are pretty effective for losing weight and some people have reported that they are a lot easier to stick to compared to other diets.
Let’s set up a 3-step weight loss plan which has a low carb approach at its core and its main aims are to:
- Significantly decrease your appetite
- Trigger fast weight loss
- Improve your metabolic health
Reduce carb intake
The first thing one needs to do when trying to lose weight is to cut back on sugars and starches, which are carbohydrates. Once you do that, you will notice that you’re starting to feel less hungry, and you usually end up consuming significantly fewer calories. So instead of burning carbohydrates for energy, your body will start burning your fat deposits for energy.
Another benefit of reducing carb intake is that it will lower your insulin levels, causing your kidneys to get rid of the excess water and sodium. This decreases bloating and unnecessary water weight. According to some nutritionists, people have reported losing up to 10 lbs (4.5kg), sometimes even more, in the first week of their low carb diet. This weight loss includes both water weight and body fat.
One study done on obese women reported that a very low carb diet was a lot more effective than a low-fat diet when it came to short-term weight loss. Other studies have also found out that this type of diet can decrease appetite, which might make you eat fewer calories without giving it too much thought or feeling hungry. Simply put, decreasing your carbs can lead to quick and easy weight loss.
In summary, drastically reducing the number of carbs in your diet can decrease your appetite, your insulin levels, and make you lose excess weight without feeling hungry all the time.
Eat protein, fat, and vegetables
Every meal you eat throughout the day should have a protein source, fat source, and some vegetables. The majority of people eat two to three meals a day, but if you’re starting to feel hungry in the afternoon, feel free to eat a fourth meal. Structuring your meals in such a way should bring your daily carb intake to no more than 50 grams a day.
Consuming lots of protein is a crucial part of this diet plan. Studies have shown that eating a high amount of protein during the day can increase total calorie expenditure by 70-100 calories a day. Diets that are high in protein can also decrease cravings and make you obsess less about food, decrease the desire to have some late-night snacks by half, and make you feel satiated for a longer period. In one study, participants on a high protein diet ate 440 fewer calories a day. In regards to weight loss, protein is the most important macronutrient.
Some of the more common healthy protein sources are:
- Meat: chicken, beef, pork, lamb
- Seafood and fish: trout, salmon, squid, shrimp
- Eggs: Whole eggs with the nutrient-rich yolk
- Plant-based proteins: legumes, beans, lentils, soy
Low carb vegetables
If you want to know what a healthy meal plate looks like, it’s one filled with low carb veggies. Load the plate with as many as you can eat. They are filled with all kinds of nutrients and the good thing about them is that you eat large quantities without going over 50 net carbs a day. A diet that is based on lean proteins and vegetables contains all the vitamins, minerals, and fibers one needs to be healthy.
Lots of vegetables have a low carb content, including:
- Brussels sprouts
- Swiss chard
Fats have gotten a bad rap for being unhealthy and being the prime cause of obesity. But that’s simply not true. You shouldn’t be afraid of consuming fats, you just have to choose the healthy ones. The mistake a lot of people make is trying to do both low carb and low-fat diets at the same time. This makes it extremely hard to stick to such a diet. The body is starved of essential nutrients.
The most common sources of healthy fats are:
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- avocado oil
- seeds and nuts
As a summary, you need to assemble every meal out of a protein source, fat source, and low carb vegetables. Doing this will put you in a daily carb range of 20-50 grams and will significantly decrease your hunger levels.
Do resistance training three times a week
Even though this weight loss plan does not require you to do resistance training, its benefits are immense and will greatly speed up the weight loss process. When you lift weights, your body starts burning a lot more calories and you will keep your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of the entire process of losing weight. Studies on low-carb diets have shown that the result is that you gain a bit of muscle mass while losing significant amounts of fat tissue.
If you’re completely new to the gym, you can start by going 3-4 times a week to lift weights, without exerting yourself too much at least for a month, until your body gets used to the routine and the load. You can also ask a trainer for some training advice. If working out is not an option for you, performing some cardio workouts such as jogging, walking, running, swimming, or cycling is a good alternative. Both lifting weights and cardio combined can help with losing weight.
In summary, any type of resistance training, especially lifting weights, can immensely help with weight loss. If you can’t do that for any reason, cardio workouts are a second best.
Do a “carb refeed” day once a week
If you think you can’t control your cravings for something sweet, you can designate one day in the week where you’ll eat more carbs. Many people usually choose to do this on either Saturday or Sunday. This doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to eat junk food. You must consume healthy carbs such as oats, quinoa, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and all kinds of fruit. If you want to have a cheat meal and indulge in some of your favorite foods, then do it on this day.
You shouldn’t do more than one high-carb day a week. If you aren’t decreasing your carb intake sufficiently, you may not lose a significant amount of weight and your progress wills tall. There’s a chance of gaining some water weight during this carb refeed day, but you’ll usually lose it in the next one or two days. So look at this as optional. Even though it’s not necessary, designating one day in the week where you’ll eat a higher amount of carbs is perfectly acceptable.
The number of calories you should consume a day and how to measure your portions
Lots of people obsess about the number of calories they’ve eaten throughout the day however when it comes to weight loss as long as you maintain a low carb intake and stick to lean protein, fat, and low carb veggies you needn’t worry. If you do feel the need to know the exact number of calories there are all kinds of calculators you can find on the net for free.
The parameters you’ll be asked to set will be your height, weight, and level of physical activity. The calculator will tell you the approximate number of calories you need to ingest per day to either maintain your current weight or lose the extra weight. There’s also the option of losing weight fast. In summary, calorie counting is not crucial to lose weight using this plan. What’ more important is to keep your daily carb intake in the 20-50 gram range.
10 weight loss tips
We’ve compiled a list of 10 more tips that will help you lose weight faster:
- Eat a breakfast filled with protein. When your breakfast mainly consists of protein sources you could reduce your cravings throughout the day and your caloric intake.
- Avoid any type of sugar-filled drinks and fruit juice. These are some of the most fattening things you can put inside your body.
- Drink some water before your meal. One study demonstrated that drinking water half an hour before a meal increased weight loss by 45% in 3 months.
- Choose foods that can aid your weight loss. Some foods are simply better when it comes to weight loss than others.
- Consume soluble fiber. Research has shown that soluble fiber consumption may aid weight loss. Fiber supplements such as glucomannan can also help.
- Drink coffee or tea. Regular coffee drinkers know how potent caffeine can be when it comes to boosting your energy. It also elevates your metabolic rate by 3-11%.
- Your diet should be based on whole foods. They are without a doubt healthier, more satiating, and much less likely to make you overeat then processed foods.
- Eat slowly. It’s been shown that eating quickly may lead to increased weight gain in the long-term while eating slowly will make you feel fuller and increase the release of weight-reducing hormones.
- Weigh yourself every day. Research has shown that those who weigh themselves every day are more likely to lose weight and maintain the new weight for a long time.
- Get quality sleep each night. Sleep is essential for many reasons, and lack of quality sleep is one of the greatest risk factors for excessive weight gain.
Following the three-step plan will surely bring about rapid weight loss and by using the 10 tips above you’ll make the plan even more effective.
How fast will you lose the excess weight?
It is quite possible to lose 5-10lbs (2.3-4.5kg) of weight, sometimes even more, in the first week of this diet plan, and then continue to lose weight consistently in the following weeks. If you haven’t done any dieting before, you can lose weight a lot quicker. The more excess weight you carry, the faster you’ll lose it. You may feel a bit strange, for a few days. You’ve “trained” your body to use carbs as an energy source, so it may take some time for it to make the switch towards burning fat instead.
This transition has often manifested itself in what’s known as the “keto flu” or the “low carb flu”. However, it only lasts a few days. After those first few days have passed, the majority of people report feeling very good and even more energetic than before.
Besides the weight loss, the low carb diet can improve your health in lots of other ways, such as:
- blood sugar levels tend to decrease significantly
- triglycerides levels tend to decrease
- LDL (bad) cholesterol levels decrease
- HDL (good) cholesterol levels increase
- blood pressure improves
- Low carb diets can as easily followed as low-fat diets
The majority of people tend to lose a significant amount of weight when following a low carb diet, however, the rate at which it happens depends on the individual. Low carb diets also improve certain health markers, such as cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
The bottom line
By decreasing carb intake and lowering insulin levels, you will most likely also experience decreased appetite and hunger. These two are the main reasons why it’s so difficult to maintain a diet plan, and without them, everything is much easier. Following this plan, you’ll be able to eat healthy food until you’re full and still lose a sizable amount of weight. The initial drop in weight, which is water weight can lead to a drop on the scale within a few days, which is a nice little reward and boost to keep moving forward. However, real fat loss takes a bit longer.
Research comparing low carb and low-fat diets suggests that the former might even make you lose up to 2-3 times as much weight as a standard calorie-restricted, low-fat diet. If you have typ2 diabetes, consult with your doctor before making any changes, since this diet plan can decrease your need for medication.